Posted by: John McGerr | April 2, 2009


In 2007 a committee had been setup to celebrate the bi-centennial of the Abbé Edgeworths death. In 2008, I and some others from the committee took a trip to Latvia. Part of that visit was a trip to the town of Jelgava where the Abbé had lived the last period of his life and where his grave had been prior to the Second World War. We stayed in Riga, the capital, a city with a great mix of modern and ancient buildings. Jelgava is a small town not far from Riga. Our hostess was Gita Grase who had attended the celebration in 2007. She is curator of the Academia Petrina museum in Jelgava. The local paper met us there, to learn about our reason for visiting Latvia. Back in the late 1990’s I had been in email correspondence with a reporter from the same paper, Zemgales Zinas who had sent me photos of the park where the Abbé had been buried. Jelgava, once known as Mitau, was one the capital of  the Duchy of Courland, one of the smallest European nations to have overseas colonies with short lived colonies in Tobago and Gambia in Africa.  Latvian history is full of conquests by different countries, Denmark, Prussia(Germany), Poland-Lithuania and of course Russia. Gita took us to the old Palace of the Dukes of Courland, now used as a university. In a basement we were shown caskets of various memebrs of the Ducal household. After a meal in Jelgava we went back to Riga. I took a short walk out from the hotel.



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